Tim Sherwood was only in the stands today, but takes full control of Villa next week…
Tim Sherwood to Aston Villa – a managerial master-stroke or an act of desperation from a club that’s been rapidly tumbling downhill since Martin O’Neill left them in August 2010?
Only time will tell, but as far as appointments go Villa might just have made a good one here.
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The 46-year-old has been handed a surprisingly confident three-and-a-half-year contract by the Villa hierarchy, and now has the task of guiding his new club to Premier League survival after their disastrous start to the campaign under Paul Lambert.
Lambert, who was sacked on Wednesday following a 2-0 defeat to Hull City – their 10th successive league game without a win, won less than 30% of his 115 games in charge of the club. Perhaps most damningly, his record was worse than any Villa manager, excluding Alex McLeish, since the 1980s.
Villa have been well and truly hopeless this season – winning just five of their 25 league games and scoring only 12 goals – the worst at this stage of a season in top flight history.
Thankfully for Sherwood, his new side only sit in the bottom three on goal difference, and he still has time to turn things around – but does he have what it takes to do so?
His record at Tottenham Hotspur last season was very good. He won 13 of his 22 games in charge – representing a better win percentage than either Andre Villas-Boas or Mauricio Pochettino – who is actually the worst of the three.
However, after a bright start his impact on the side quickly began to diminish. Heavy defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea had fans calling for a more experienced manager to take his place, and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy eventually gave in.
Nonetheless, Sherwood dealt well with a difficult situation at White Hart Lane – guiding his side to a respectable finish and bringing through a number of young players, including Harry Kane, that have shone so far this season.
Sherwood is a ‘character’, as he proved when he confronted one particularly brave Tottenham fan towards the end of last season, and offered him his place on the bench. Villa have often looked like they’re half-asleep this season, and Sherwood’s fiery nature could be just the thing to get the best out of a talented group of players.
It’s worth remembering just who Villa have at their disposal: Fabian Delph, who made a promising start to his England career last year; Christian Benteke, who 18 months ago was ranked among the Premier League’s deadliest strikers; and Ron Vlaar, a World Cup semi-finalist with the Netherlands less than a year ago.
Plenty of Sherwood’s former colleagues have spoken highly of him. Current Queens Park Rangers boss, who was quoted by BBC Sport said: “He did a fantastic job at Tottenham.
“I think they’re reaping the benefits of some of the stuff that was put in place four or five years ago to help the academy. I think it was probably underrated the job that he did.”
Former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas added: “I enjoyed working with Tim at Tottenham. I can’t speak highly enough of him. The work he did with the young players, the training sessions were fantastic, fitness levels too. When I was working with him I felt great.”
Sherwood has plenty of promise as a young manager. While many Villa fans will have preferred a more experienced head at the helm, such as Tony Pulis – who last month joined neighbours West Bromwich Albion – they needed to be realistic, there weren’t many people around!
Villa fans now need to get behind Sherwood and hope that he can guide them to safety, because a club such as Aston Villa needs to be playing in the Premier League. We’d call them ‘too good to go down’, but we know how that’s worked out in the past…
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